Was it always planned for TV? My impression is that they went with this release schedule half because they probably couldn't keep the pace of a weekly schedule (we already had a casualty from last season where they couldn't keep up and had to air two recaps in place of new episodes). But I have no idea.
As for being a good remake... I've only watched the Yamato anime movies, so I can't really speak to the quality of the show as a remake... but the anime-isms (namely the nurse character) must be part of the appeal. It's the equivalent of Mari in the new Eva movies!